Memories of busking

It’s strange how much of my past I feel is seeping away from my memory. Looking back to my school days I can hardly remember any of it, I can remember some events but without any clarity around actually what happened minute by minute. With something closer to today such as college, I can grab snatches of moments, like photos or short TV clips. As the time difference between then and now gets shorter these glimpses grow to something more coherent and memorable.

Before you suggest it, no I haven’t taken acid before. What is perhaps most interesting is that the happier I was at the time or the bigger the impact of the moment on my life, the more memorable it is. I would suppose that’s not really surprising to you psychologists out there, but I just find it fascinating.

A lot of these events revolve around two things, guitars and my fellow guitar player, Stu.


Stu really inspired me to pick up and learn the guitar, and that I did. I think I’ve managed to come quite a way since I first started learning to play the odd note, and the guitar playing has managed to hold some of the most poigniant memories in my life.

Stu, Eddie and I went through a period of practicing together. Stu and I would be playing guitar and providing backing vocals, and Eddie would be giving the voice and playing the lead superbly. We never really went further than practicing and playing for just us, but at the time we were just enjoying getting together and playing music.

Interestingly Stu has gone on to perform for real as he spends a lot of his time playing in pubs – that’s with the guitar, not in some strange act liable to get him thrown out and arrested. Saying that though the two have often gone together…

I have no idea what has become of Eddie, although I do remember that Eddie, myself and my twelve string, performed at the works Christmas party once and we did a set list of about six or seven songs. I loved that, and most memorable was the part where we performed All Along the Watchtower, a song which began slowly and near the end had me hammering away on the strings with a frenzied and sweat inducing verse or two. Oh that was fun. I still have that play list on my wall.

Busking provides some great memories too. Stu and I would head into Aberdeen and stand outside Dixons bookstore, as I think it was called then, at around ten or eleven at night and then play late on into the night and early morning. It was great fun, although I do remember that Wonderwall was big at the time, and the number of times it was requested means that I hate it to this day!

I would play backing guitar, Stu lead, and I would sing lead with Stu backing. Looking back on it I’m amazed that I started doing that, but once you’d done a verse or two you were flying. Come morning though my voice wasn’t!

What was amazing was that one night we made almost £100! However I think our worst night was where we struggled to hit £2, so don’t start thinking it’s a good way of earning money. We had fun though, and got to play songs and sing to people who usually weren’t that critical, who just wanted to have fun and join in.

Some didn’t though and we did get a few heckles. The worst were the nightmare duo who were rather aggressive and one head butted a passer-by busting open his nose! Ouch. We left sharpish at that.

I love that time spent playing and singing, and the many parties we played at for friends. Now and again the guitar comes out at parties (usually only when asked I have to say) and we work through the huge song books I’ve gathered over the years. I still love it, I just wish I had more time to keep up the practicing and playing new songs.

I hope these memories never fade.

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